Over the last few years boutique cigars have managed to secure a healthy portion of the cigar market by offering innovative and unique wrappers and vitolas. Recently I had the opportunity to sample the fruits of labor of a relatively new boutique manufacturer Pablo Enchinton and his new line of PANA Cigars. Pana emerged onto the retail scene in mid 2010 with their Ligero Maduro and the Connecticut Especial. Currently they have five incarnations available including the prior two and their One Year blend, Triple Corojo, and Triple Maduro. So far I’ve sampled two of the four available, but today I’m going to focus specifically on the PANA Connecticut Especial.
At first glance the cigars creamy and tan Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper really pops against the Pana’s sterile white box. Aside from the contrast, the wrapper was about what one would expect from a traditional Connecticut with a smooth finished texture and no visible veins. The stick itself was a bit on the firm side, but once I clipped the pig tailed cap the draw was relatively balanced allowing for a moderate airflow. The foot of the Especial had a distinct leather and barnyard aroma that seemed to progressively increase towards the vitola’s cap. Once lit, the cigar boasted an incredibly brief burst of sweetened spice that vanished as abruptly as it had occurred. The following 3 ¾ of the stick was very traditional revealing a familiar Connecticut profile comprised of mild to medium leather notes accompanied by hints of toasted sweetness, grass and hay. The binder, an Indonesian tobacco, and the filler, comprised of both Nicaraguan Corojo and Piloto Dominicano, burned quite well allowing me to enjoy my smoke rather than spending the time focusing on lesser pursuits like correcting uneven runs or fixing a tunneling vitola. As far as the Especial’s profile is concerned, it’s about as consistent as you can find with little to no variation as the stick progressed and frankly, the consistency of the profile is something I look forward to in a good Connecticut. Retailing for around $6.00 dollars a stick, Pablo Enchinton has developed a cigar that is mild to medium in strength, well constructed and consistently flavorful. If you’re looking for a nice, mild everyday stick or something to read the paper with in the morning, then the Connecticut Especial is for you.
With all of the new boutique cigars that seem to be spontaneously arriving in the marketplace it’s nice to see a company that has embraced traditional flavors and profiles rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with flashy wrappers or ornate boxes. With almost two years behind them PANA seems to be heading down the right track for success and with four unique blends to choose from, it shouldn’t be hard to find a profile for nearly any palette.